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Tailing the Komets

IHL prepares for league meetings

Posted in: Komets


Wed, 02/03/2010 - 12:28pm

This sounds like a busy couple of days. Sure would like to sit in on this, some interesting things afoot. League wide sponsors would be great.

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 1:19pm

Andrea, there are several things that could happen, and right now I don't think anybody knows for sure.

1.) IHL survives and adds teams
2.) New Midwest league forms of all the survivors
3,) Frankes sell and someone else moves Ks to the AHL where they have more troubles within five years.

I'm not a big believer in the AHL because I don't think a recession is the time to raise ticket costs or expenses. And yes, they would have to. Also, it's not like all those AHL teams are doing that hot, or they wouldn't be making so many changes every year. Let's put it this way, if I had the money, I certainly would not be investing it in that kind of move.

One factor in all of these hypotheticals is that the buildings must have hockey to fill the dates. Imagine where the Memorial Coliseum would be without the Komets.

Frozen Water
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 1:25pm

No faith in the Mad Ants, Blake?? Hahahahha! Attendance at those things is a joke.

Blake, if you've said this before please forgive me for asking again, but why are the Frankes so anti-AHL that they would sell the team rather than go to it? Is it because they would make less money than they do with their own league? I'm not saying the AHL is the way to go, I am just curious. Thanks in advance.

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 1:34pm

I agree with Steve. It sure seems there are a lot of topics up for discussion. Expansion, the Lumberjack situation, league sponsors, the salary cap, the number of vets allowed on a team, closer ties with the NHL through the AHL, possible rule changes, and getting the league to an even number of teams seems like a pretty full agenda for a two day meeting. The one thing I really noticed was that he understands that he just needs to keep the league "talking." I take that as talking within themselves and talking to the NHL, the AHL, and maybe even some other "AA" leagues. Now that would be a refreshing change, wouldn't it?

Blake Sebring
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 1:55pm

FW, It would be a business decision more than anything. I think they believe the margin for error would not be worth the risk. Been there done that with AAA hockey and they lost a TON of money in the late 90s.

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 1:57pm

OK, so why not just call the IHL experiment a failure and merge with the ECHL, making one hell of a strong midwest division? If they are gonna go back to NHL style rules (which would most likely eliminate the no instigator rule), and try to rope in the affiliations then it sounds like the ECHL brand of hockey to me.

Frozen Water
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 2:13pm

Thanks, Blake. I don't know nearly the history of the Komets you do and figured there would be a reason. I appreciate the fast response.

Definitely lots to talk about. Hopefully what is discussed at teh league meetings will be made public. Lots of interesting things to cover.

Blake Sebring
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 2:23pm

I'm not sure that solves any of the problems JR. It adds to the travel expenses and adds more budget with union dues. You do lose veterans and salary cap room, but is that enough to make a big enough difference? Why not try to interest some of those teams into coming this way?

Blake Sebring
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 2:34pm

Plus it likely adds an expansion fee, whatever that is for the ECHL.

Let's face it, there are no perfect answers. There are only lesser evils in this economy.

Adam Mapes
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 2:57pm

Correct me Blake if I'm wrong but when the Komets were in the old IHL they were independent-right wouldn't an affiliate be the way to go if switching leagues is an option? Or does this go back to the Franke's not having the final say on who they will have as players, coach etc!!!! And thank you BLake for your excellent coverage!!!!!!

Blake Sebring
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 3:01pm

Sure, except you pay the NHL team for that right, Ive heard up to $1 million, and they don't supply all your players any more, either, so you may be on the hook for signing 6-8 players on your own to fill out your roster. It also has some to do with control because they know FW do not support losing teams, and sometimes when you are affiliated it's more about developing players than winning. A lot depends on which team you can get for your affiliate, too.

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 3:31pm

I'd wanna see some facts behind people always saying that if we were to go to the AHL ticket prices would for sure rise. We already have relatively high ticket prices. Look around at other teams/leagues if you don't believe me.

I think everyone is aware that the Frankes lost a ton of money towards the end of the old IHL days but they are raking in the money since going to the UHL. Sponsorship alone most likely pays for most of their bills. Thats not even counting ticket money.... I have heard it costs almost $500,000 to be the premiere sponsor of the team... Not sure there is truth to that, but have heard it. If you dont' think sponsorship pays for everything, I dare anyone to go to a game and note one thing about it that isn't sponsored. Even the NATIONAL ANTHEM is sponsored. Don't get me wrong, its smart business.

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 3:42pm

Blake, you did a terrific job answering everyone's questions. I don't see the Franke family selling the Komets either. Someday in the future, when the Franke's have sold the team and it is in someone else's hands, I think that Komet fans will look back at these times with an appreciation that isn't expressed too much today. So many times you have tried to remind us that minor league hockey can be a real fluid thing even in the best of times, let alone in a climate of real economic problems. I know of some former season ticket holders who vowed never to come back once the K's left the "AAA" IHL to the lower level UHL. Still, I wish they would at least come watch a game as the level of play has steadily gotten better and better since those first days of the UHL. (Don't get me wrong, I know that the level of play in the AHL has gotten better, too.) I just think they would be surprised. I am focused on the IHL, and its future. I am concerned about all of this as I want to know where my money is going. Anyway, nice job Blake on answering and responding to some tough questions. I am looking forward to the game tonight. I hope that Chewy and O'Conner break out of their scoring slump. I am particularly impressed with Chewy's hustle as he is always moving. Hopefully O'Conner will get a goal that will end his jinx. I posted a week or two ago that if these two guys got going the K's would be real tough for anyone to handle. Just now hearing of a storm that may hit us Friday. Forecasters are not sure but maybe six inches of snow depending on how the storm tracks.

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 3:45pm

Sounds like the IHL is the only option. (Insert eye roll)

Ticket prices going up? We pay the same as some AHL teams already, and most of them are within 5-7% of what the Komets currently charge. Would the MC start charging them rent all of the sudden if they joined the A?

Blake Sebring
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 4:14pm

Well, if you go to a more expensive league, you can expect ticket prices to go up. We're not talking about a $100 million business here. Coliseum does charge them on a per game basis, such as a fee to use to scoreboard, meals, broadcast, etc. Some of those AHL teams control their buildings so they get the parking, concessions and box seats money as well.

Blake Sebring
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 4:19pm

Believe me, the Frankes understand if they have to raise prices, they will risk losing fans, which would be another reason they would prefer not to go to the AHL. It's a heck of a balancing act to walk.

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 5:30pm

Just an idea of what some of the expenses can be, I remember one weekend road game to Colorado back near the end of the IHL the tab for the team was almost $60,000. There were a few complications that came up that added to the cost but those can happen today also. That's a lot of jack. The same trip in the ECHL wouldn't have cost less.

Travel expenses are one of the reasons the IHL model makes so much sense. I agree with Blake, ECHL teams should be looking at coming here or breaking off and forming other smaller foot print leagues. Ideal situation would be four or five leagues with the same rules and NHL backing. Then there would be the possibility of championship structure where the best of each league would compete for it.

Who, knows? Maybe some day.......

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 6:37pm

It is TIME for all minor league teams to quit being stubborn and do whats right! If it is true about muskegon leaving the IHL cant just go throwing in another team or two to keep this league alive. Dayton and Flint are hanging on by a thread. whats the word with evansville? are they still suppose to join the league next year? and if so, they should require any new team to sell at least a minimum of 1000 season tickets.

Hit Somebody!!!
Thu, 02/04/2010 - 12:52am

Evansville......why? They don't have a legit place to play yet. They have basically a McMillan Arena type of place to play in. They would have to charge $40 a ticket to break even....right? Or would we in Fort Wayne fit the bill on that team too. Enough is enough already.

I would be absolutely shocked if Musky is in the IHL any longer. Seriously. I have gotten e-mails, blog messages, IM's, from player agents and various hockey people connected to the situation in Muskegon that say that there will be no IHL in Musky. Period.

New Midwest League.....I have heard this rumor alot around hockey circles. I have heard no details though. Who would control this? NHL? Frankes? Would the ECHL come apart and regional minor leagues would form? Tell me more is what I am saying. But it sounds like Hextall is full speed ahead with the IHL. Is this a front, or will this league really survive? I know that is the big question here.

Thu, 02/04/2010 - 7:55am

The AHL has Rockford, Cleveland, Grand Rapids, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Peoria all sitting in our back yard. But we always hear about the extreme roadtrip... "Do you know how far it is to Abbottsford?" How many times will they travel there? Once?

I guess every team other than Hershey is losing money in the AHL.

The comment that ECHL teams should want in the IHL is laughable. The IHL is an older vet-driven league. It goes against everything that the ECHL is about. And who wants into a leage with teams that have had less than 1000 people show up to games?

Adam Mapes
Thu, 02/04/2010 - 1:39pm

Unfortunately we as fans will be subject to payin these high ticket prices for lower level hockey because KOMET fans really believe that this is good quality hockey and I"m not sayin all komet fans but just listening to all these blogs makes ya wonder ? Hit Somebody nailed it,why in the world would an ECHL team wanna go to the ihl ? seriously.... And as JungleMonkey said the AHL would have way to much travel.......Peoria,Milwakee,Rockford etc,etc!!! But as long as the K's win another "FHL" cup then it's all good!!! JMHO

Thu, 02/04/2010 - 3:50pm

Thanks to a member on FYC for this link from Muskegon, where it seems Ron Ropp was finally permitted to speak about the rumors of the Lumberjacks to the USHL... Short article thats speaks volumes...


Word has the current Lumberjacks IHL franchise folding at the conclusion of this season while the current owners continue to pay dues for awhile as a dormant franchise ala the Chicago Hounds and the Muskegon USHL franchise being owned by a former USHL team owner...(would seem this is the loophole to those bylaws the league seems to be banking on to keep the Lumberjacks from changing leagues)

Thu, 02/04/2010 - 6:48pm

Muskegon is gone...... A more in depth article...


Thu, 02/04/2010 - 7:52pm

JR--You may or may not be right. I didn't really ready anything different between the two stories but they way they were worded. I guess you can get out of whatever you want.
Local High School hockey is pretty good. It might be worth a couple of bucks a game to see. I just don't want a entire season of it. Sorry!

Thu, 02/04/2010 - 8:09pm

Dennis, I thought the same thing about the main article; but its what was on the right hand side towards the bottom that made it concrete, IMO... The part where it gives 'About the USHL' information and lists Muskegon and Dubuque as the #15 & #16 entries into the league for next year... Plus all the other info out there saying Muskegon is already recruiting top Michigan high school players to join them for next season, etc... If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and walks like a duck, then most likely its a duck...

Thu, 02/04/2010 - 8:11pm

BTW, local high school kids have nothing on these guys playing in the USHL... I wouldnt want this league here in Ft Wayne; but these kids are very good.

Thu, 02/04/2010 - 8:13pm

No doubt! Quack Quack!

Adam Mapes
Thu, 02/04/2010 - 8:37pm

Thanks for the info JR!!!! I just wonder what the IHL will do now ? Losing Kalamazoo last year, Muskegon this year that's not lookin so good for the IHL model!!!

Thu, 02/04/2010 - 9:03pm

The IHL will try and rush 2 to 3 new cities into the league for next season as a 'bandaid' measure...IMO Evansville, who like Hit mentioned plays in a MacMillan sized arena and would lose boatloads of money if rushed in early, Chicago has popped up at its usual time in the year saying things may be getting closer and I've heard that the IHL has been sniffing around Wheeling (a lil outside the "footprint", IMO)... So next season we can have even more teams losing money; but the most important thing is the Ft Wayne cash cow can continue to graze....

Frozen Water
Thu, 02/04/2010 - 9:39pm

I love owning teams that I hate all season... (Insert sarcastic tone for the previous statement)

In happier news, BOILER UP!!